by Susan Combs
We appear to have become a nation of folks sitting. Sitting on the sidelines. Sitting in front of TVs, our phones or tablets. We sit things out.
But we weren’t always a nation of sitters. The United States is an amazing experiment in political thinking. It is a republic based on democratic principles – one man, one vote, liberty, and freedom. We stood together and fought a revolution for the right to vote and determine our future. We seized our future.
What if we don’t go vote? We are extraordinarily lucky in 2014 to be able to go calmly to a voting area, walk in, and vote. No need to worry about armed thugs gunning us down or a government telling us which candidates we can and can’t support. But look at Hong Kong. The residents of Hong Kong want to vote on a real slate of candidates and are protesting in the streets. There are people in many countries who fight for this basic right often against governments and militaries who try to stop them.
My middle son went to Iraq with the Marines in 2004. Do you remember the image of the woman with the purple ink stained finger? She held it up to prove she had voted….and that she was able to vote. My son and so many others were there to help secure the safety of that process.
The night before that election, I got a call from him. The Marines wanted these fighters to call home and talk to their families the night before that historic event. It was one of the most thrilling and frightening calls of my life. No one knew what would happen the next day. Chaos or order? Bloodshed or democracy?
People have died to vote in places very far away, and somehow we can’t be bothered over here. Got a TV show to watch? Too busy? Chance of rain? Or even worse – we don’t believe it matters. That is the thought that pierces us to the heart. The notion of being so dispirited that we don’t believe our vote counts.
That thinking underlies our lackluster voting participation. But it’s certainly not for lack of information. Most would argue we have more opportunity to be informed. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Internet, websites galore, radio, TV – all filled with information on candidates and issues. But again, many times we feel like it’s impossible to cut through the noise and get the answers we need. We are tuned in, but pretty much tuned out.
I hope my post last week gave folks some questions they should get answered before supporting any candidate. We’ve been trying to help Texans get informed on the issues that are important to everyone who lives in our great state, and as part of that process we’ve released a series of videos. These videos highlight some things that many Texans (and folks moving from other states) have become accustomed to in the last few years – robust job growth, a strong rainy day fund, affordable housing, and no state income tax. This week’s video is a fun review of the things we’ve done and maybe a “teaching moment” for other states that need to wake up if they want to learn from our Lone Star Success! Take a look:
But these things didn’t happen by accident. They happened because people stopped sitting around, got up off the couch, and exercised the privilege granted to them by this great country, its Constitution, and the men and women who defend both. Policies can change on very few votes, in some cases. If you aren’t in the arena, if you are sitting on the sidelines, you could find out you have lost control of your future.
As you prepare to vote in the upcoming elections, help continue our state’s Lone Star Success by voting for conservative leaders. Let’s ensure that the Lone Star Success we’ve built is there for our children and grandchildren.
Go ahead and take a stand. Go vote. People died to give you that chance over 200 years ago in this country and they are still doing it around the world. I am looking forward to the opportunity to assert my belief in liberty.
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Click here to read more about Texas’ Lone Star Success.